BRUSSELS, October 13 (RIA Novosti) – The withdrawal of Russian troops, involved in several military drills in the southern region of Rostov, which borders Ukraine, if confirmed, would be a step in the right direction, a representative for NATO told RIA Novosti Monday.
"We are checking the reports. If true, this would be a step in the right direction, but we are looking at the facts on the ground, rather than Russian statements," said the alliance representative, who requested anonymity.
On Sunday Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu to start withdrawing troops from drills in the Rostov Region to their permanent stations. A total of 17,600 troops are said to have taken part in the drills.
Later that day, Russian Defense Ministry reported that the redeployment of the troops had already begun, as ordered.
In the last several months the Russian Armed Forces held a number of military drills in the western regions of the country.
The exercises, especially those held close to the border with Ukraine, were criticized by some western countries as well as NATO.